Noise Cancelling Headphones Qualitative Comparison Bose QC35 I/II, Sennheiser PXC 550, Sony MDR-1000X/M2

Hi guys, with all the current post and deals with regards to active noise cancelling headphones (ANC) specifically bose qc35, i have been thinking about getting one myself and decided to do some research. These are 3 headphones which i have found to be comparable to each other in sound, noise cancellation properties and within a price range of $350 - $600 (yes very wide price range, but these take into account the deals and rrp of the individual units).

Now everybody's input is greatly appreciated, however if people are just going to post "headphone a is boss" please refrain from doing so without explanation of why, this post is meant to help other people considering the specific headphones and to make a decent judgement based on price and their needs.

Active: Running when has battery power
Passive: Flat battery or turned off
PassTru: Active pass through audio from outside via button or gesture control
Switch: Implies slider toggle
Button: Implies single button

* Feature comparison are by no means fully complete or indepth, ie. i did not break down battery life function.
* I do not own any of these, info are based on retail advertising and reviews i have read.

Bose QC35 I (Seems to be people's favourite)
  • ANC: Wide frequency range (unknown freq range, although people mention it handles some higher pitch sounds well, 28db broadband isolation
  • Comfort: Soft ear pads (99.9% of people agree, others disagree due to shape of head)
  • Weigth: 236g
  • Battery: Up to 20 hrs (As advertised)
  • LED Feedback: Individual power and bluetooth
  • PassTru: No
  • Sound Profile (Active): Robust, not bass centric
  • Sound Profile (Passive): Cant remember i think some people said it wasn't great
  • Power on/off: physical button, grouped with bluetooth toggle, off -> on -> bluetooth
  • Physical Buttons: vol up, multi func, vol down
  • Physical wire: cable is 2.5mm (headphone) to 3.5mm (device)
  • Bluetooth: 4.1
    • Manual says pair to 2, stores 8
  • Foldable: Yes
Bose QC35 II (Newer Model)
  • Mostly should be same as above, will update as version I more information appears.
  • Added new multifunction button: Google Assistant (if no google, button changes between 3 ANC modes)
  • Weight: 0.31 kg
Sony MDR-1000x
  • ANC: Good 24db broadband isolation (stats wise, profile very similar to qc35, less attenuation at lower freq so qc35 win??, some people however swear that this model may have surpassed qc35 for noise cancellation)
    • ANC measurements
    • ANC can be turned off with physical button, but default to on when headphone is turned on
    • Adaptive ANC: sony ingenuity to adapt to profile of headphone sitting on your head and ambient noise
    • Some reports state that due to power saving feature, ANC turns off after some amount of time when device doesn't have wire plugged in or is paired (can't use headset as noise cancelling muffs)
  • Comfort: Still comfortable, but cushion not as thick as pxc550 or qc35, shallow cup, flat of ears may touch.
  • Weigth: 275g (w/o cable)
  • Battery: up to 22hrs??
    • Individual on/off button
  • LED Feedback: Individual power and bluetooth
  • Mic: yes (built in)
  • Sound Profile (Active): Richer compared to qc35, but still relatively flat response
  • Sound Profile (Passive): No conclusive reports, some say much better than qc35
  • Touch Interface: Yes
    • Vol Control: 1 swipe = 1 stage change
  • PassTru: Cup gesture
  • Physical Wire: 3.5mm to 3.5mm?? (sorry i forgot)
  • Bluetooth: 4.1
    • Can't pair to 2 devices at the same time
  • Foldable
  • Charging: can't listen while charging
  • Build:
Sony MDR-1000X (New Subversion MDR-1000XM2)
  • Added pressure sensor for pressure/ANC optimization
  • New adaptive ambient sound adaptive ANC based on activity (i.e. walking/running/stationary???) settings viewable via app
  • Build: headband flaw fix from older version? (shall wait and see).
Sennheiser PXC 550
  • ANC: 22db isolation (unknown freq range, handles low freq well like other NC, doesn't handle as well vs qc35 for higher freq)
    • ANC measurements
    • ANC mode: Physical toggle switch, ON, adaptive (control by app for more customization), OFF (toggle switch)
    • Does't appear to have power saving function ??
  • Comfort: Thick padding, narrow egg shape cups (may pinch ears if have large ears), headband seems to be tigher fit compared to others from review
  • Weigth: 227g (w/o cable)
  • Battery: up to 30 hrs (As Advertised)
    • No physical power on/off, on/off by internal switch when turning headphone cups
  • LED Feedback: Integrated multi stage power level (multi feature feedback)
  • PassTru: double tap gesture
  • Sound Profile (Active): A bit mixed on this, some say it's worse than qc35, some say it's better, general profile review says relatively flat with maybe some sharper response in the higher freq range.
  • Sound Profile (Passive): Unknown
  • Mic: Yes (built-in), Also included with wired
  • Touch Interface: Yes
    • Vol Control: Sound level drop indicated by beeps through headphones, 1 swipe can change variable sound levels
  • Physical Button:
    • Single button to switch built in headphone audio/movie/speech profile, also specific speech profile for phone conversation
  • Physical Wire: 2.5mm to 3.5mm, built in mic and multi func button
  • Bluetooth: 4.2
    • Physical on/off switch
    • Pairs to 2
  • Foldable
  • Charging: Micro usb, can listen while charging

So above are some of the things i saw which shows the differences between the units, audio is obviously subjective to the person without quantitative data, personally i was leaning more towards the pxc 550 because of some functional differences such as being able to use while charging, there may be more which i have forgotten at the moment.

If anybody think i have written something which you believe is incorrect, please bring it to my attention, or if you feel like i have missed something that should be included, feel free to inform me or get it added :)

So yeah, people feel free to input your personal opinions on specific pros and cons of each product.



    Nice effort.
    The only thing that I looked for was the headband issue on the Sony..but you omitted it?

    That is the biggest con to me, else I would have bought one in the previous amazon deal.


    I'd recommend the qc35s, the sound stage is actually decent now with firmware updates.

  • +1 vote

    Innerfidelity has fantastic measurements if you want to directly compare isolation, ANC, freq response, impulse response etc…


      will add this to the post, thanks for that. So that's where one of the reviewers got their isolation stats from.


    I've recently had a listen to all three headphones. They all seem build very well - although I didnt realise the Sony's had issues… Sennheiser seemed like there was too much low end and I was disappointed by the sound quality, I was hoping these ones were going to be the ones! I liked the Sony sound quality the best but the QC35's were great too. Sennheiser's seemed a little tight around the head (I dont think I have a large head) and it felt like my ears barely fit in them, but the Sony and Bose were fine. I think battery with 20hrs and over is great which all three fit into.

    Go give the headphones a spin at your local electronics store. I was almost going to buy the PXC 550's because on paper they ticked all the boxes, but was glad I tried them at the store. Currently waiting for reviews of the Sony WH1000xm2 and will probably go with these (purchasing with credit card for extra warranty :).


    rtings has some technical reviews on these headphones, Bose QC35, Sennheiser PXC 550, and Sony MDR-1000X. And there is a side-by-side page for you to compare them. Hope this'll help.


    1000xm2 fixes headband issue and adds more features.


    looks like all the new headphones QC35 II and sony 1000xm2 is now available in australia, so i've added them to the list as well.


    Want a pair of Bluetooth headphones as I go from an iPhone 6s to the iPhone X. Using original Sennheiser Momentum.

    Right now I think I’ll wait and see how the 1000xm2 fare for a few months structural wise. To me it’s probably between them and the QC35 II. Sony seems to have done more with their upgrade but I’ll want to try them both a bit and see how they are for comfort etc too. As it is I wouldn’t go Sony if the headband still has issues but I’d be amazed if they haven’t fixed it.

    Bit disappointed neither Sony or Bose have jumped to BT5 though or USB-C.


    does anybody know if the function buttons (skip/pause etc) on the qc35 work over wired connection with and without battery power?

  • +1 vote

    Also the Mdr 1000x2m now has quick charge, 10min charing = 70min usage.

    Also just a quick comment, does anyone know where I can find them in Melbourne. I can't seem to find any stores besides the amazon and on the sony website, it just points me to a page not found


    I'm getting confused with the serial name of the Sony products.

    Is it actually "Sony MDR-1000X/M2" (which a lot of Ozbargainers use) or "WH1000XM2B" (the name on the official Sony online store).

    Here's the Gizmodo article also using the latter.

    Searching OzB using the former turned out multiple results. Searching the latter turned out nothing

    Are they the same product or are they two distinct product?

    • +1 vote

      The B at the end refer to the color code as WH1000XM2N is listed on the sony store for the "gold" version.

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